Oh dear, has it been three weeks already? But now, the historical sewing mojo is back at last and I finally get to share the first details on my new Regency day dress with you. Yay!
So far, nothing about it has gone according to plan. At first, I was dead-set on making simple white muslin crossover gown. But then, I stumbled upon a sheer woven-stripe muslin in a clearance sale. It was so gorgeous that I fell in love the second I spotted it. Since it was an end piece of roughly four yards, I had to change my plans accordingly: The dress is now going to be a simple early-Regency drawstring gown.
Now that I am making a striped gown, I started looking into the use of striped fabrics in the Regency era. As it turns out, vertical stripes were very popular between 1800 and the mid eighteen-teens. And they came in many shapes, shades and sizes, from woven, over yarn-dyed to printed or painted. In this post, I want to give you a tour of the most gorgeous dresses I have found. There is quite a few of them, so we better get started…
To start off, here is an 1817 miniature of the pregnant Charlotte, Princess of Wales by artist Charlotte Jones. She is wearing what looks like a finely striped dress of sheer muslin or sarcenet:
My guess goes more towards the sarcenet, since I lucked into an 1816 fashion plate from Ackermann’s Repository showing an absolutely delicious gown for half-dress, made from red and white striped sarcenet. Also note the contrasting green ribbons.
Another illustration I found is an 1810 watercolor drawing by Johann Klein. The blue-and-white fabric design is very close to the one I am working with. That being said, I think that the trims shown here would also work very well on my gown. ;)
Dwelling on the subject of sheer woven-stripe dresses, here are two white cotton muslin gowns from the first decade of the 19th century. The first one is from the collection of the Litchfield Historical Society. It belonged to a Mrs. Lucretia Champion and was made in 1807. The second is pretty similar in fabric design, while showing off a broader stripe.
As for colored striped gowns, there is an even wider selection of extant garments yet around. For once, have a look at this gorgeous blue half-silk dress from Nordiska Museet. Especially note the playful bias stripes on the bodice and the fine golden trim contrasting the vertical stripes on the skirt and sleeves. This one is easily one of my most favorite Regency gowns still in existence.
Recently, I have found another dress from the V&A Museum that is just as stunning and even more extraordinary for its time. It is made from a yellow cotton knit and the stripes are produced by a change in knitting direction. Before I found it, I had no idea that such a techniques was around this early on…wow.
Another dress is this late Georgian / Early Empire cotton gown from the Musee de la Voiture. Even though it looks a little worse for wear nowadays, I think it was a simple, gorgeous dress in its time. Shape-wise, it is also very close to the early-era look I am going for in my dress.
Another early example of stripes is this printed green-and-gold dress from the Museo del Traje in Madrid:
There are two more dresses with an earlier silhouette that both show off very special stripe patterns. The first is a black-and-white cotton dress from the Met museum. It boasts slightly wavy stripes that, I supect, were printed, rather than woven. The other dress was recently cleared from the Met’s collection and is now on auction. The floral stripes here are printed on a solid moire fabric.
About ten years later, dresses made from pastel silks seemed to be all the rage in terms of fashionable stripes. An example of the style is this mauve gown of tone-in-tone woven silk from 1807:
Quite similar at first glance is this mauve silk gown auctioned by Augusta Auctions. But here, the stripes are printed onto the fabric instead.
This pretty, yellow gown from the V&A’s collection is also made from printed silk. Just like the mauve example above, it can be dated to the time around 1805. Based on the museum’s description, it features a drop-front closure and was originally worn over a “bum pad”.
The last dress on my inspiration board comes from a slightly later time frame, dating to the early 1820s. I included it since it shows a very interesting contrast between two-tone stripes, solid applique work and one of the textured floral fabrics that became popular later in the period.
This yummy example closes the long list of gorgeous Regency striped gowns. Whew, that has been quite a long list. I hope it has not overwhelmed you and provided you with some inspiration for your own future Regency dress projects, I would love to hear which of these gowns you liked best. Hoping to be back with you soon.
Much love, Nessa